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WPN Statement: TPNPB-OPM classified as „terrorists“ – further violence feared

WPN Statement (7 May 2021):

TPNPB-OPM classified as „terrorists“ – further violence feared

We have witnessed with great concern the announcement on 29 April 2021 that the Indonesian government is categorising the armed fighters for the independence and freedom of West Papua (TPNPB-OPM: the West Papua National Liberation Army and the Free West Papua Movement) as terrorist organisations. The classification of the TPNPB-OPM as a „terrorist“ is a reaction to the killing of the Papua Intelligence Chief, I Gusti Putu Danny Nugraha Karya, for which the TPNPB took responsibility. The Indonesian government’s call to the military, police and intelligence services to hunt these groups in West Papua creates a direct threat of further violence and human rights violations against the civilian population in West Papua.

We share the concern that labelling the TPNPB-OPM as „terrorists“ will result in the deployment of more military troops to West Papua and serve as a justification for human rights violations against civilians and impunity for the security forces. The universal protection of human rights for the indigenous Papuans threatens to take a back seat due to the central government’s strict security policy approach.

For many years, there have been many human rights violations and racist violence against indigenous Papuans by the Indonesian military and police in West Papua. Instead of striving for a peaceful conflict resolution process and facilitating a dialogue between the conflicting parties (possibly with the participation of an independent third party), the Indonesian central government continues to treat West Papua as a security and separatism problem. It thus justifies the continued expansion of the military presence in West Papua. The classification of the TPNPB-OPM as „terrorists“ is a further step in this spiral of escalation.

So far, over 60,000 Papuans have fled their homes out of fear of the military presence and violent raids and the destruction of their homes. There are no political offers of help and no prospect of international humanitarian support for these internally displaced Papuans. If the military presence is expanded further, more internally displaced persons are to be expected.

Additional security forces threaten to escalate the violence in West Papua, with consequences, especially for the civilian population. Lukas Enembe, the governor of Papua, therefore called on the Indonesian central government to review the classification as a „terrorist“ and examine both the psychosocial and economic effects of this „stigma“ for the Papuans as the legal framework for this classification.

Against the background of the continuing spiral of violence caused by the relocation of additional military troops to West Papua and against the threat of future human rights violations in the context of the armed conflict in West Papua, we expressly advocate that:

• Indonesia agrees on a binding date for a visit of OHCHR to West Papua,
• racist violence by security forces is prosecuted,
• free access to the Internet for the population is ensured (see judgment of the Administrative Court in Jakarta on 3 June 2020),
• international journalists and humanitarian aid organisations are given access to West Papua,
• human rights defenders in West Papua are protected,
• the Indonesian government replaces the security approach in West Papua with a peaceful conflict resolution process and dialogue.


[1] The Speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) in Jakarta was quoted in the media saying, „Destroy them first. We will discuss human rights matters later“.

Statement (pdf)